It was a night of celebration as the Anzisha Prize, a partnership between African Leadership Academy (ALA) and Mastercard Foundation, awarded $25 000 to 21-year-old Yannick Kimanuka from the Democratic Republic of Congo and crowned her the winner of the 2019 Anzisha Prize. The KIM’s School Complex, founded by Yannick in 2018, is a nursery and primary school which aims to improve how children perform academically in school in her community.
“I am so happy. I cannot believe this. Thank you to the Anzisha team and my fellow finalists. Tonight, I am not only filled with joy but I am filled with hope for the future of this continent. My fellow entrepreneurs have fuelled my passions and desires for a better continent,” said Yannick Kimanuka during her acceptance speech at the 2019 Anzisha Prize Forum held in Johannesburg.
Osvaldo Rey Mokouma, a 19-year-old from the Republic of Congo will receive $15 000 as he was announced as the first runner which was an unexpected delight. “I want to tell young entrepreneurs that Africa needs us and that we must work hard to see the change we want and do not hesitate to apply for the Anzisha Prize,” he said. The festivities also included the announcement of the second runner up Cecil Chikezie, a 22-year-old Kenyan entrepreneur who founded Eco Makaa, a company that connects local fuel briquette producers to a client base by recruiting the community’s small-scale briquette producers. As the second runner up, he will receive $12 500 in prize money. “It has been a life-changing experience and I am looking forward to realizing my dream of bettering the lives of my peers,” said Cecil Chikezie.
“Every year, we are always excited and ignited by the incredible businesses that the top 20 finalists are running. This year was no different. We are proud of the winners and are encouraged by their efforts to create more opportunities for other young people on the continent,” said Koffi Assouan, Program Manager, Mastercard Foundation.
Preceding the prize-giving ceremony, this year the Anzisha Prize Forum was a half-day curated experience and guests had the chance to interact with the multifaceted approach the Anzisha Prize program takes in supporting and celebrating very young entrepreneurs on the continent, including scenario workshops that invited stakeholders to rethink their approach to youth entrepreneurship.
On the journey to crowning the winners, the 20 finalists were put through their paces participating in an 11-day boot camp at the ALA campus where they were coached by industry experts on how to run successful businesses. This boot camp aids in fostering collaborative synergies between the young entrepreneurs and will hopefully continue after their time together in Johannesburg. After returning home, each finalist will receive US$2,500 in prize money and join the prestigious Anzisha Fellowship. The Fellowship package consists of eight tailored opportunities to help fellows scale their businesses. This year, the Fellowship package will include a new consulting initiative and job shadowing projects that are aimed at providing unique opportunities for all fellows.
For the past nine years, the Anzisha Prize program has continued to champion Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs. This year was no different as the program managed to reach very young entrepreneurs in remote areas to highlight their efforts of excellence in solving some of the continent’s biggest issues. During the due diligence trips, the Anzisha team had the unique opportunity to meet all of the top 20 finalists in their home countries and get a firsthand understanding of their businesses. After traveling to over 23 countries and reaching more candidates in remote areas, the Anzisha Prize program is invested in supporting very young entrepreneurs as the program will celebrate their decennial next year.
To bask in the celebratory moments of the Anzisha Prize, register at anzisha.org/finalists to watch the CNBC Africa special in October.
Applications for the next cycle of the Anzisha Prize will open on 15 February in 2020. Entrepreneurs’ nominations are welcome all year round.